There is no shortage of studies that confirm the importance of free shipping. But a comprehensive shipping strategy extends beyond free. It includes other crucial elements that impact conversions and customer satisfaction.
I’ll address nine of those elements in this post.
Beyond Free Shipping
Shipping cutoff times. Customers want their items as soon as possible. At a minimum, merchants should display order cutoff times for same-day processing. Ideally, though, use a countdown timer explaining how long shoppers have to get their order delivered in the quickest manner.
Arrival times and dates for each shipping method. Timeframes should be listed next to each shipping option during checkout. The simplest way is to present how many days each method takes. More robust systems use the customer’s address to provide definitive “by this day” messages. (Remember, in 2019 a “slow” delivery arrives within four days.)
On-time shipping. Customers expect products to ship quickly. Packaging and shipment times should be in line with what is displayed on the website, even if it means overtime hours for the shipping department.
Notification of tracking information. Emailing or texting tracking links serves a few purposes. It proves the shipment is in the carrier’s hands and cuts down on order status requests. It also allows customers to see where their order is and when it should arrive. Offering a text option can eliminate email concerns.
By some accounts, 11 percent of shipments experience some type of delay. Regardless of whom is at fault, shoppers usually hold the store responsible.
Notification of shipping delays. If you receive notice from the carrier about a change in the delivery date, tell the customer. This helps rule out surprises and customer complaints.
Package rerouting. Mistakes happen. By working with customers and carriers for rerouting, you eliminate frustration and build better relationships. Many shipping delays stem from bad addresses (a good reason to make incorporating an address verification system a prime goal). Rerouting may also be necessary due to emergency travel.
Shipping method upgrades. Upgrading shipping methods to make up for warehouse or pickup delays can go a long way, especially if the customer doesn’t request it.
Refunds or credits for delayed deliveries. Refunding shipping fees for missed deadlines should be the norm. For free shipping, though, consider other solutions, such as partial refunds or store credit.
When all things fail, expedite a new shipment. Sometimes the best way to satisfy the customer is to immediately send a second shipment. With most online shoppers saying the delivery process has a huge impact on the overall experience, it makes sense to pull all stops.